New Zealand ‘Covid-19 Alert System’ specifies measures needed at each level of outbreak

New Zealand has put in place a 4-level alert system which specifies the measures needed to be taken by the public at each level of alert.

The NZ Government state that:

‘The Alert System means people can see and plan for the kinds of restrictions we may be required to put in place.

‘This includes increasing or decreasing limits on human contact, travel and business operations.’

The measures are reactive based on if the NZ Government receive new scientific knowledge regarding Covid-19 and/or information about the effectiveness of intervention measures.

The alert levels are not necessarily nationwide, as the levels can come into force in a specific town, city and/or territory.

This means that different parts of the country could be at different alert levels.

The NZ Government further state:

‘At all levels, health services, emergency services, utilities and goods transport, and other essential services, operations and staff, are expected to remain up and running.

‘Employers in those sectors must continue to meet their health and safety obligations.

‘The public will notice an increased police presence with a focus on prevention, through education and encouragement.

‘Alert Level 4 restrictions will only be enforced if required.

‘At all levels, if there is another emergency, follow normal emergency procedures.

‘Emergency evacuation orders will override COVID-19 Alert System requirements to stay at home.’

The highest alert level is level 4, down to the lowest alert, level 1.

LOCKDOWN – At level 4, the disease is not likely contained meaning community transmission is occurring as well as widespread outbreaks and new clusters.

The safety measures for this level essentially include the lockdown we have seen here in the UK; most facilities across industries are closed with people instructed to stay at home.

RESTRICT – At level 3, there is a high risk the disease is not contained.

This means that there may be community transmission as well as the possibility of new clusters emerging.

The difference at level 3 is that testing and contact tracing can control the spread of the virus.

The safety measures at this level allow for public gatherings of up to 10 people only for weddings and funerals, school years between 1 to 10 can safely open with limited capacity, businesses can open premises without physical interaction with customers.

The safety measures at this level are almost identical to what the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced for the UK yesterday evening.

REDUCE – At alert level 2, household transmission could be occurring but not community transmission aside from single or isolated clusters.

At this level, physical distancing is still advised although people can reconnect with family and friends.

Sport and recreational activities are allowed with caution, schools are open, with businesses encouraged to promote alternative ways of working where possible.

The elderly and those with underlying conditions are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home.

PREPARE – At alert level 1, the disease would be said to be contained in NZ.

The disease would be recognised as uncontrolled overseas.

There could be isolated household transmission within NZ.

Intensive testing would be occurring, border entry measures enacted, contact tracing of positive cases, self-isolation required, physical distancing encouraged with hand washing campaign broadcast frequently.

There would be no restrictions on gatherings with businesses and transport operating as normal with public health guidelines in place.

Alert level 1 would be almost back to life prior to Covid-19.  

Currently, the alert level shows the country at level 3.